The Pun Pony Project is a group of artists, writers and other staff that produce the daily comic Ask Pun, started on 2 February 2012 with plans to last for "At least one year after the end of the show."
Ask Pun was originally started when the current project manager was dismayed at the low number of followers several amazing Tumblr ponies had. He also noticed that the follower count of various Tumblrs would dramatically increase after a crossover with another Tumblr. When a certain talented artist had a sketch sale at $1/sketch, he purchased 100 of them and The Pun Pony Project was born.
Though certain elements of the main character were chosen by the project manager such as gender and cutie mark, the artist designed the specifics with a theme of 'easy to draw.' Scripts were kept on a Google document, and framework established that allowed more artists and writers to participate in the project.
Additional Project MembersEdit
Once a production queue had been established for the one hundred sketches, the option was presented to add more artists to the system. This quickly expanded from one writer and one artist to currently over sixty artists and writers. The system has been under continuous evaluation and development to enable new collaboration features.
Using the influence of the comic for good.Edit
The original and maintained purpose of the comic is to spread pony cheer by introducing the followers to other Tumblr comics. As such the comic focuses on crossovers with other Tumblr ponies, and reblogs depictions of Pun Pony in other comics. The project manager has said the overall objective of the comic is to "Spread pony cheer."
The only flow of money within the project is from the project manager to the artists. The comic will never take in money, such as through a Paypal donation button. If there is a call for merchandise later, it will be sold strictly at-cost.
Those involved will have fun.Edit
The environment at the team on Ask Pun is one of people with a shared hobby, not artists on a commission. Many of the artists have their own Tumblr comic, and work on Ask Pun as a distraction. As said by the project manager, "How can we expect people to have fun reading it if we don't have fun making it?"
The project makes extensive use of Google Documents as the primary collaboration tool. The two main documents are the writing collaboration and production queue.
Each writer on the project is given an area within a large document to place their ideas. They also have the ability to comment on the ideas of others to help build a finished script. When a script is deemed complete by an editor, it is moved to the production queue.
The production queue is a list of available scripts produced by the writing staff. Artists are able to select scripts in any order they wish. Multi-day story arcs are labeled under a single script number.
Bi-Monthly Staff PruningEdit
Due to the 'no deadlines' nature of the project, individuals may be out of contact for an extended period of time. Members are required to respond at least once a month to confirm that they are still interested in the project. This was put in place due to a number of individuals dropping out of the project with a large number of scripts reserved, and only admitting they were no longer interested when specifically asked. Due to the number of people on the project, those who have left the project but still have access are regarded as a security hole.
All project artists and writers have text added to their area of the relevant document (writing collaboration or production queue) stating to delete the text if they are still interested. An announcement is made in the monthly newsletter for all artists and writers to edit their section.
After two weeks, individuals who have not responded receive a targeted email inquiring if they are still interested. Those who respond have their sections edited appropriately. This is to accomodate those experiencing computer trouble, a busy schedule, or other factors.
Those who have not responded are contacted by all available methods (email, DeviantArt note, Tumblr note, Skype, etc) to ask if they are still interested in the project.
All individuals who have not responded are removed from the active staff list and their document access removed. Their data is saved, such as completed panels, but reserved scripts are released back into the available scripts.
Due to the business-like nature of The Pun Pony Project, questions have been raised regarding the motivation of the project manager and the treatment of the artists. Several artists behind Tumblr ponies have prohibited the project from referencing their characters. The most public controversy occurred when AphexAngel , a well-known artist, stated that " The only reason you GOT people working for you is because a lot of artists are DESPERATE for recognition, and you’re taking advantage of them." This was publicly retorted by Jitterbug Jive , a famous and professional artist on the project.